Friday, November 18, 2011

One Small Victory

There was a small news story yesterday with somewhat large meaning. The California high court unanimously ruled that the proponents of Prop 8, the state initiative to protect marriage in that state, had standing to defend the law following the state’s refusal to do so. More here.

Outcome of Prop 8 Vote
Source: California Secretary of State*
Opponents of the law claimed that the legally passed initiative violated the US Constitution, and they got District Judge Vaughn Walker (a homosexual, who therefore should have recused himself, since he aligned himself with the opponents), ruled that it was unconstitutional. Had he ruled otherwise, the opponents would have had the right to appeal. But since he voted their way, the opponents have insisted that only the state governor and attorney general had the right to appeal, and if they didn’t, then no one else could. 

So that means that they believe the initiative process in California—which exists so that the people can have a say in what their laws will be when they cannot get the legislature to act in their interest—are subject to the whims of the state government as to whether to acknowledge any such law.  

So the court was right yesterday: when the state refuses to carry out its executive duty, interested parties must have a right to step in and defend their own position. The state’s 100-year-old initiative process was at stake. 

As for protecting family simply by affirming the definition of marriage as it has always been—between a husband and wife, exclusive and intended to be permanent, between consenting adults of opposite sex who are not closely related—it is now going to the next step: on to the 9th Circuit of the US Supreme Court, a court with a reputation for being the most liberal and most likely to have its decisions overturned for failure to apply the law. 

The 9th Circuit will hear arguments about whether traditional marriage is an institution that violates the equal protection and due process clauses of the US Constitution. If they rule that the right to define marriage as it has been defined in most civilizations for millennia is in violation, then the next step will be an expanded 11-judge appeal panel. And it won’t end there. Quite likely, either way it will be appealed to the US Supreme Court. 
*Graphic from Wikipedia.

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